Business Interview

Business Interview

Interviewer: Good morning sir, can you briefly tell me about yourself and what you do for a living?

Mr. Tom Ridi: My name is Mr. Tom Ridi, a father of two lovely daughters and a prominent businessman in Toledo city.

Interviewer: In what line of business have u ventured and for how long?

Mr. Tom Ridi: I am in the gas business. We have been in operation for about ten years with over thirty branches all over Toledo city.

Interviewer: Can u tell us how you got the idea?

Mr. Tom Ridi: Well, it all started when I was twenty-eight years old. That was about five years after completing my university education. Back then, only one small gas station operated in the city. It was quite difficult for the station to serve the demand for all the vehicles in town. Regularly, the station would only manage to stay open until noon, meaning that vehicles coming afternoon would miss fueling. The prices would also largely fluctuate since it was the only gas business in town at that time. My father owned a small truck for his farming business. In certain instances, we had to travel to other towns in search of gas which was costly and limited to the business. That was when the idea of starting my own gas business came to my mind.

Interviewer: How did you initiate and implement your idea sir?

Mr. Tom Ridi: Well, I first began by identifying the gap in the market. I had to look at what the people urgently needed, and that was gas. The provision was limited, and that gave me the opportunity. I analyzed the viability and costs associated with initiating the business. At that time, I did not have much capital to start the business. I had to find a way of raising capital enough to start my venture. I had various options such as borrowing from banks, donations or family. Going for funds from the bank at that time was not possible because I had no collateral to get credit, so I opted to get support from the family.

Interviewer: Who supported and raised funds for you and why?

Mr. Tom Ridi: I got the financial support from my five older brothers. At that time, they were all financially stable and ran their businesses. They believed in my ideas since I was the most educated in the family and so decided to fund my project. We decided to call it S&G. My brother’s involvement in initiation and implementation made them stakeholders in the venture making it a family business.

Interviewer: Since the initiation of the business, can you tell us the journey to the current state of the business and do you like it?

Mr. Tom Ridi: We initially started with one small gas station in the capital. Due to the high demand, we reached our breakeven point very fast. The payback period was minimal, and so we were able to get back our investment in one year. We decided to reinvest back our profits with the aim of diversifying our products and services and also expanding our business. Our competitor back then charged much higher and so we had an increase in the number of clients boosting our sales. As a result of a four-year smooth operation, we decided to further our operations by opening branches all over the city. I love the business because of the high returns. I have been able to give m family a good life. Also, I have served my community by instituting welfare programs for both the young and old in society.

Interviewer: How did u manage to outwit your competitors in the market in such a short period?

Mr. Tom Ridi: We decided to concentrate on the customer majorly, that is, providing quality products at consumer-friendly prices, making the commodity readily available at our stations, diversifying our products to meet various needs and providing after-sale services to our clients. Also, we decided to manage our operational costs by outsourcing some services such as transport and logistics and also pursuing cheap sources for our products. We embraced technology by use of comprehensive management systems for record maintenance, commercial operations, personnel management, inventory management and sales management. This ensured we were always a step ahead of our competitors.

Interviewer: Can you please enlighten us on the challenges and rough days you have faced over the span of operation of S&G both past and present ones.

Mr. Tom Ridi: Over the years we have come across many obstacles. Initially, the challenge was raising capital and management. We had difficulty in managing our supplies and balancing our revenues and costs. This was streamlined with time and experience. Today, political interference, stiff competition, economic conditions, fidelity issues on the part of the employees, natural factors, and machinery breakdowns are our challenges. Political interference affects the business mostly during election periods, where the business closes operations at some branches due to fear of the unknown. Competition from other organizations has also impacted operations regarding variety and pricing.  Inflation, deflation and interest rates have also affected the consumer behavior limiting and affecting disposal of incomes. Sudden climatic changes such as storms have limited access in certain areas for the provision of our products and services. Also, the breakdown of our assets such as supply vehicles and computing systems have posed a major challenge in operation of S&G.

Interviewer: Which steps have you taken in curbing the challenges experienced?

Mr. Tom Ridi: We have implemented initiative programs meant to encourage equity, peace, and unity in the community. This helps calm the political atmosphere during the electioneering period and also helps create a cohesive relationship with the community. We also reward our employees for good performance comprehensively to limit fraud on their part. S&G also embraces research, encouraging invention and innovation through providing training programs meant to generate new ideas to gain an advantage in the market. We have also chosen to outsource some services such as transportin order to save on costs such as depreciation and breakdown of machinery.

Interviewer: You have played a critical role as the managing director for about ten years diversifying and opening forty to fifty gas stations all over Toledo city. That is a very impressive record. How do you manage the business?

Mr. Tom Ridi: Thank you. Initially, we were two in operation. I was the head manager, in charge of record maintenance, and my brother in charge of service delivery. I maintained records of inventory, sales, and expenses. My brother provided client services such as fueling and cylinder supply. Today, I delegate duties to managers who sub-delegate to other officials. I only oversee performance and make strategic decisions for the company. My brothers are directors and also are involved in decision making.

Interviewer: Can you tell us your weaknesses and strengths in the performance of your duties as the managing director of S&G?

Mr. Tom Ridi: I will begin by the strengths. I am highly focused and always equipped with the desire to achieve more every day. Ever since we started the business, I always pictured to big offices with many busy workers from a single station with two workers. Over the years despite the challenges posed and our victories, my aim has always been to expand and boost our business, and that has been achieved due to my drive. My weakness is anger, and I find it challenging when dealing with my employees directly especially on performance issues and delegation. I explode on performance and miss of targets. I usually use my managers to communicate with the workers to maintain performance and loyalty.

Interviewer: What’s last year’s performance record for S&G and where do you picture yourselves in the future?

Mr. Tom Ridi: Last year we recorded a profit of a hundred million dollars raising the profit index by a margin of three percent from the previous year. In the future, we picture of the company competing in the global sector. We want to expand our operations into the neighboring countries by expanding our geographical share.

Interviewer: Are your children interested in continuing your legacy.

Mr. Tom Ridi: Yes. One of my daughters is at the Oxford university abroad taking business administration. I wish to mentor and enroll her in the company. I want the S&G empire to grow and widen in the future in all our generations.

Interviewer: Thank you very much Mr. Tom for your time and insight on your company. That was enlightening and motivational to upcoming entrepreneurs.

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